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    Night and Day

    An immaculately-observed social comedy that explores the boundaries between personal freedom and the demands of love, the Penguin Classics edition of Virginia Woolf's Night and Day is edited with an introduction and notes by Julia Briggs.Katharine Hilbery is beautiful and privileged, but uncertain of her future. She must choose between becoming engaged to the oddly prosaic poet William Rodney, and her dangerous attraction to the passionate Ralph Denham. As she struggles to decide, the lives of two other women - women's rights activist Mary Datchet and Katharine's mother, Margaret, struggling to weave together the documents, events and memories of her own father's life into a biography - impinge on hers with unexpected and intriguing consequences. Virginia Woolf's delicate second novel is both a love story and a social comedy, yet it also subtly undermines these traditions, questioning a woman's role and the very nature of experience.This edition of Night and Day includes a detailed introduction by Julia Briggs, which considers the key themes of the novel and its place in the tradition of social comedy, a map of central London of the period and notes.Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) is regarded as a major 20th century author, a great novelist and essayist, and a key figure in literary history as a feminist and modernist. and became the centre of 'The Bloomsbury Group'. This informal collective of artists and writers which included Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry, exerted a powerful influence over early twentieth-century British culture. Between 1925 and 1931 Virginia Woolf produced what are now regarded as her finest masterpieces, from Mrs Dalloway (1925) to the poetic and highly experimental novel The Waves (1931). She also maintained an astonishing output of literary criticism, short fiction, journalism and biography, including the playfully subversive Orlando (1928) and A Room of One's Own (1929) a passionate feminist essay.

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    Waiting for Godot

    From an inauspicious beginning at the tiny Left Bank Theatre de Babylone in 1953, followed by bewilderment among American and British audiences, Waiting for Godot has become of the most important and enigmatic plays of the past fifty years and a cornerstone of twentieth-century drama. As Clive Barnes wrote, Time catches up with genius Waiting for Godot is one of the masterpieces of the century. The story revolves around two seemingly homeless men waiting for someone or something named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon wait near a tree, inhabiting a drama spun of their own consciousness. The result is a comical wordplay of poetry, dreamscapes, and nonsense, which has been interpreted as mankind s inexhaustible search for meaning. Beckett s language pioneered an expressionistic minimalism that captured the existential post-World War II Europe. His play remains one of the most magical and beautiful allegories of our time."

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    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is a play which, as it were, takes place in the wings of Hamlet, and finds both humour and poignancy in the situation of the ill-fated attendant lords. The National Theatre production in April 1967 made Tom Stoppard's reputation virtually overnight. Its wit, stagecraft and verbal verve remain as exhilarating as they were then and the play has become a contemporary classic.

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    Grey Eminence

    The life of Father Joseph, Cardinal Richelieu's aide, was a shocking paradox. After spending his days directing operations on the battlefield, Father Joseph would pass the night in prayer, or in composing spiritual guidance for the nuns in his care. He was an aspirant to sainthood and a practising mystic, yet his ruthless exercise of power succeeded in prolonging the unspeakable horrors of the Thirty Years War. In his masterful biography, Huxley explores how an intensely religious man could lead such a life and how he could reconcile the seemingly opposing moral systems of religion and politics.

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